It is generally advised to have a safety guidewire (SGW) present during ureteroscopy (URS) to manage possible complications. However, it increases the strenght needed to insert and retract the endoscope during the procedure, and, currently, there is a lack of solid data supporting the need for SGW in all procedures. We reviewed the literature about SGW utilization during URS.
A review of the literature was conducted through April 2017 using PubMed, Ovid, and The Cochrane Library databases to identify relevant studies. The primary outcome was to report stone-free rates, feasibility, contraindications to and complications of performing intrarenal retrograde flexible and semi-rigid URS without the use of a SGW.
Six studies were identified and selected for this review, and overall they included 1,886 patients where either semi-rigid or flexible URS was performed without the use of a SGW for the treatment of urinary calculi disease. Only one study reported stone-free rates with or without SGW at 77.1 and 85.9%, respectively (p=0.001). None of the studies showed increased rates of complications in the absence of SGW and one of them showed more post-endoscopic ureteral stenosis whenever SGW was routinely used. All studies recommended utilization of SGW in complicated cases, such as ureteral stones associated with significant edema, ureteral stricture, abnormal anatomy or difficult visualization.
Our review showed a lack of relevant data supporting the use of SGW during retrograde URS. A well-designed prospective randomized trial is in order.
safety guidewire; ureteroscopy; retrograde intrarenal surgery; meta-analysis; kidney stone; ureteral calculi